tv America Tonight Al Jazeera January 18, 2016 9:30pm-10:01pm EST
>> we're here to fully get into the nuances of everything that's going on, not just in this country, but around the world. getting the news from the people who are affected. >> people need to demand reform... >> ali velshi on target. >> for some reason as she was working this is what he did. withwolf whistles). the more peep that hear the story, the true story, no matter if you know nothing about the south, you knew that was long, you thought that child was brutalized that way. before you have reconciliation,
you have to have truth. tonight a look at a defining moment in our nation's shared and troubled history. one that began in the mississippi delta 60 years ago with a death here at the black bayou. thank you for joining us, i'm joie chen. the delta held secrets close. in the shadows. you can almost hear the whispers day. the truth of a young black man's mistake, and the horrific penalty he paid for it are trapped in the heat of a mississippi night. if these walls could talk, would they scream in terror?
cry out in desperation? or would they fall silent in fear? they are the lost walls emmett till saw in the barn on the old sheraton plantation, a place that echos with the horror of a hot august night. where a kid from chicago funds himself facing the most brutal type of justice. his family called him bo bo, 14 years old, with a stutter. he begged his single mum to let him come to missouri in 1955 to visit his country cousins. >> he talked beside chicago. he told me stuff you didn't know about. riverview park. have you ever about there. mack me in the battlefields,
listening to a story about amusement park. i couldn't believe that. >> emmett was a story steler, and a jokester. and for all the street-smarts, he found his older cousin could be naive. emmett did not know there are certain things he didn't know or do. >> he didn't know anything that we didn't. we lived here, we didn't know in the south. americans under attack. in mississippi alone, more than 500 lynchings were documented between the late 1800s. and 1955, the year emmett till and his cousins took a ride down to the grocery store. this is part of the street everyone thinks they no.
simeon wright was with him when the young wife of the store owner of roy bryant stepped outside. he was going for a conference. >> where were you. >> standing right beside emmett, outside the door. >> and you heard him whistle. >> oh, my goodness. >> the boys had gone down to the store at the crossroads known as one miss sippy, for some candy and pop. >> over the years, history crowded over what happened in the shop. whether emmett tried to flirt with bryant. and simeon would heart and whistle at the young woman. >> scared to death. whistling at a white woman in mississippi. snake.
>> what did you tell him? >> we didn't have time to tell him anything. our reaction told him everything. we ran to the car and got out of town as fast as we could. >> did you figure there would be disaster. >> i thought if they caught us they'd whip us, but murder never crossed my mind. never thought he would be kill. >> the boys ran into the fields to hide. trouble didn't follow that day or three days after. by saturday the boys all but forgot their fear. until late in the night, pounding at the door woke them from a sound sleep. when i opened my eyes, i saw two white men. i recognised one. the guy with the gun. he ordered me to lay back down. and made emmett get
up and put his clothes on. and his mother came in he begged and pleaded. offering money. >> she offered money. >> yes, to leave them alone. >> he hesitated. but he didn't. >> he wasn't going to. him. >> the men took emmett away down the dark road. what were you thinking, your you? >> they said they were going to bring him back. i lay there in shock all night. every car that came by, i thought they are bringing him back. the sun came up, i knew then they would bring him back. >> they took him to a farm, so far out in the country few could have heard the boy's screams, there were witnesses.
you were a little boy. >> yes. >> the store keeper's half-brother came to johnny thomas's house looking for help. >> the story says that there were african-americans involved. my father was henry log-in. >> he was the right-hand mag. >> he was the american clearing the equipment. . >> for many years he said your gather was involved. >> yes, he said he didn't know why they say he was involved. >> you had your doubts. >> he would have no choice to do what jw told him to do or appellant him. >> do you feel guilty? >> don't feel guilty but i feel
involved. father. >> why would have black man help emmett. >> everything based on fear. if you instill here in the hearts of people. you can control them. >> it was less than well understood in the mississippi delta of the 1950s, where ab all-white jury quickly would employ print and jw milan of murder. and a grand jury refused to indict him for kidnapping. months later. a torture and murder of the boy was reported in a national magazine article, framing the story for years to come. . jw told the magazine he intended to stair the boy saying "what else would we do, he was
hopeless, i'm no bully, i never hurt a nigger in my life. i like nigger's in their place, i know how to work them. i decided it was time a few people were put on notice. nigger gets close to mentioning sex with a white woman, he's tired of living." marlon gave a detailed confession explaining hours after pissle whipping him, he ordered the boys to strip naked, shot him and threw him in the river with an extreme fan around his neck to hold the body down. three days later kids saw emmett's feet sticking out of the water. what reminds you of him now, that summer. >> honey suckle. when i smell that, it takes me back to 1955.
or coming down the street like this. laid into bed that night a memory on a mississippi breeze at the ends of the road. >> in a moment after a killer boldly confessed a role, why wouldn't even hold accountable emmett's death. the answer when we return, and courage in the face of terror. emmett till's mother - her brave choice and why it was almost
what took place at the black buy u 60 years ago was horrifying. it was the talk of generations of african-american parents gave their own sons, is to this day an unsolved crime. no one was ever convicted and almost all that that might have had a hand in it have since gone to their own graves, silent about the murder of emmett till and the racial injustice that killed him. if you had a doubt that hate swells on the banks of the tala hatchy river, you need look to the sign. the memorial that commemorates
emmett till's end, pierced by the anonymous refineders that evil was a -- reminders that evil was allowed to go free. >> we know there were people that would never support but supremacy it's a hate read never forgotten in emmett till's life and death. >> my first introduction to emmett till's case came when i was 10 years old. i have to say, like many of us that saw the photograph for the first time. it was shocking, and i needed to know what it was. so my parents came in, explained the storey to me. i was in high school. i can remember the situation, and my parents would tell me
before i went to the house, don't let what happened to emmett till happen to you. >> born more than 15 years after till was lynched film a maker could not shake the image of the boy's mutilated body or outrage that no one was accountable even though the two program suspects confessed, after they were acquitted at trial. >> after the trial, four months after. roy and tj confessed to a reporter for $4,000. they were never brought up on charges because of the fact of the double jeopardy rule. they could not be tried in a urt co of law for the same -- court of law for the same thing twice. they got off scot-free. >> he was determined to see justice done for emmett till,
even if he had to do it himself. >> i decided to go back to the delta and dig for more information. i could hear people outside talking, talking about. >> for mine years he interviewed witness, and pored over thousands of pages of documents. he identified 14 he believes were involved in kidnapping and murder and came to the grim cloogs that at least five of them were african-american. killed. i had all these names. that was some of the things i department. >> we were able to find a few things that were not found in the '50s. >> dale was the fbi agent not assigned to the case. >> they had help. following up on the leads. the investigators
learnt new detail. >> from witnesses that had been afraid to come forward, the body was exhumed, and they were able to put to rest legends that the hoch. >> the n.a.a.c.p. alleged that they had placed a different child's body in the river, and it wasn't emmett till, and there were rumours he was seen in the city. we were able to say definitively that it was emmett till and he head. >> there was not enough proof against two people who were alive. the shopkeeper's wife, carlin bryant, and the black porter, the right-hand man of the alleged killer. >> the ultimate finding by the supreme court was a note of true bill, no indictment on cases
against carol bryant and henry lieu loggins. >> we understand history. you have to look at the facts that if caroline bryant was kidnapped and murdered, she'd have been the first white woman murder. >> then you have one of the black men who was supposed to have participated. it could have been a change. you would have heard from the black community, how can you indict a black man, but you didn't indict any of the rights. >> let the jury say. >> but there is another path to the true story, and a higher justice as well. >> we repent today, oh, god. >> pastor willie williams was part of those bringing the delta history. >> you stare at it, people say why are you guyses trying to open up stuff that happened in
the past, why not let it die? >> i think we decided too long. >> there were, choose life. >> the faith-based community, we need to take the lead in true reconciliation. they urge the memorials, take historic tours, examine the markers, and follow the last days. even the courthouse where his killers were exonerated. it's not an easy one. we have people coming from all over the country, wanting to know more about the story. >> that effort is unsettling for the man committed to telling the story himself. >> i understand what a lot of folks are doing in the dealt e many wondering about what happened in 1955. before you can have
reconciliation, you have to have truth. if that truth is not out there, which i know it's not out there. we are doing things background. >> with no one accountable. it's feared the history will haunt the delta pine if new evidence is found, the emmett till case could be reopened, but time is running out. only a few people that could bear witness survive. in a moment, a mother's grief, and her courage. mainly till's -- mainly till's
nab the most extraordinary thing that took place is how commonplace it was. mississippi saw 500 lynchings from the end of the civil war to the 1950s. most often victims were men, women and children were too. when emmett was taken from his cousin's bed, his death might have passed unnoticed. instead. it changed history. >> every picture
tells a story. this one told the truth. even in her grieve, mammy wanted to share the hardest brutal truth about the torture of her only child. >> i a say that that wi as out and lie -- i saw that this eye was out lying about midway the cheek. gone. i looked at the bridge of his nose, and it looked like someone had taken and shot it imagine mammy's pain, she had sent him to chicago to spend the summer vacation with his cousin down south. a week later he was taken from
his great uncle's house in the middle of the night, tortured and killed. the story could have been lost in the death of what locals call black bye u. but mammy till fought to bring her son home. >> we had the grave dug. >> emmett till's cousin recalled the decision, she sniffed that her son be presented in an open casket. >> he wanted to know was i going to have the casket open. i said yes, we'll open the casket. he said do you want me to do something for the face. up? >> i said no, let people see it. this.
>> we thought it was a courageous thing to do. i mean, i had critics, but the only thing to do. who is going to believe that. who would believe this emmett was mutilated like that. later, the historian met manmy same. >> she wanted the coloured to see what they did to her baby, and part of what made this so powerful was that it was captured by the media, by the magazine and picked up by other media pieces. >> it was viral. >> and it became a symbol that matter if you knew nothing about the south, you knew that was wrong. you would say that child treated that way, brutalized that way was wrong. it gave it national support, but national visibility.
that was the first step in really what we call is the modern civil rights movement. >> at the funeral, thousands lined up to pay their respects, but hundreds of thousands more saw the shocking photograph that appeared in jet magazine, and were moved to speak out. lives. >> emma till was a cautionary tail. we weren't sure of his name, but we knew of the boy from chicago that went to the south and was brutally murdered. federal investigators reopened the case, exkumed his remains that was in a casket. >> it was a traditional casket.
there was a class over it so you looked into it. after the presentation was complete, the remains were returned in a new casket, but the original was left abandoned. >> the casket was just sitting in a corner and had raccoons in it, and the family was very upset about that, and they realized that may be the casket should be observed at the smithsonian. >> as the director of smithsonian museum, history and culture, they chose the casket and story to be a centrepiece of the museum when it opens. >> the murder of emmett till became a moment that pointed america in a new direction. >> the evidence helped investigators clarify facts, but one witness alive to day is yet to speak publicly about what she
nose, the woman emmett till whistled at. caroline bryant. >> i didn't know she would live to be an old woman, and she hasn't told anyone about what happened. i can't confess to god almighty to what happened. i forgave her at age 24. doesn't mean i don't want to see justice. i want to see justice. >> right says that history, and a new generation need a full account of what happened in the barn that night and why. >> as a black man in mississippi in 1955, there was no protection under the law. none whatsoever. right speaks often to tourists and to young people who have trouble connecting the story to their own lives. >>
they said that that happened old school. long time ago. history books. >> to a person. then eyes were open. ferguson is not new. eric garner is not the first. there's a long tradition of racial violence, and we have to remember that in order to confront it. i think we should look back to maybe the notion of mobilizing people to affect change, which is one of the greatest things we can do in the country. >> that could mean something, because other unfortunate people all over the world, and for him to have died a hero, was more than for him just to a died a young life lost in the darkest days of the delta, but a >> our american story is
written everyday. it's not always pretty, but it's real... and we show you like no-one else can. this is our american story. this is america tonight. on >> it's important for the talks to go ahead this month. >> united nations say peace talks on syria will not go forward until decisions are made as to who should be invited. free fall. oil prices are dropping and likely to go lower with iran in the game. impact on economies beyond the middle east. >> people in argentina takto